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Former State Prosecutor
An assault and battery can be either a felony or a misdemeanor depending on the facts and circumstances involved in the case.
Many people mistakenly believe that assault and battery are the same thing. This is particularly true because the media often, and incorrectly, uses the terms almost interchangeably. In Florida they are different charges.
"Battery" means any touching or striking of another person against that person’s will. “Simple battery” or “misdemeanor battery” is a battery offense that does not involve aggravating factors like the use of a weapon, serious injury to the victim, or domestic violence. However, if you have been previously convicted of simple or misdemeanor battery, a second simple battery arrest can be charged as a felony. "Aggravated battery" is a battery that involves causing significant bodily harm or disfigurement to the victim, or using a weapon, and is a second-degree felony.
"Domestic Violence" battery is essentially a battery that is aggravated by the "domestic" relationship between the accuser and the accused. See the Domestic Violence pagefor more specific information involving Domestic Violence batteries and other cases.
"Assault" is not the same thing as battery. An “assault” is defined in Florida as an intentional, unlawful threat by word or act to do violence to the person of another, coupled with an apparent ability to do so, and doing some act which creates a well-founded fear in such other person that such violence is imminent. As you can see, one can be charged with assault even if the person never touched another. Aggravated assault is classified as a third degree felony and it is charged in situations where the accused committed an assault but also used a weapon or committed an assault while committing a felony.
In Florida: Simple assault is a second degree misdemeanor punishable up to 60 days in county jail and a maximum fine of $500. Aggravated assault is a third degree felony and can result in up to five years in prison and a maximum $5,000 fine.
Simple battery is a first degree misdemeanor and can result in a one-year county jail sentence and a maximum $1,000 fine. Felony battery is a third degree felony and can result in up to five (5) years in prison and a maximum $5,000 fine . Aggravated battery is a second degree felony it can result in up to 15 years in prison and a maximum $10,000 fine.
An assault and/or battery conviction can impact your personal life, professional licensing, and your employment or educational opportunities. As a former prosecutor and now defense attorney, Jason Hicks has handled hundreds of assault or battery cases so far in his career. If you have been accused of assault or battery, do not waste another minute without speaking to a knowledgeable defense attorney. Acting quickly is important as an attorney may be able to speak with the State Attorney's Office and convince them to dismiss a case even before they file charges. Usually, police officers only provide the State Attorney with just one version of the allegation, the supposed "victim's" version. It is too common that police fail to get witness statements from other people who witnessed the incident and who would have explained that the "victim" is exaggerating, lying, or that the accused was defending him or herself. Often, a defense attorney must do the complete investigation that the police never did. An attorney will immediately interview witnesses to learn the whole story of what happened, take photographs of the defendant's injuries, and otherwise gather evidence that could tend to show the accused did not do what the alleged "victim" claims. This should be done quickly.
Jason Hicks has a deep knowledge and understanding of the many issues that arise during a battery or assault allegation. This knowledge in use can increase the chances that your charges can be reduced, dismissed, or dropped.
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